About Walton Rods
Growing up in Royal Center, Indiana, Walton Rod’s co-founders Brad Smith and Mike Malchow, have fished together their entire lives. As a matter of fact, they were college roommates. However, that’s when their paths separated. Brad stayed in college and eventually went into law enforcement but Mike enlisted in the Army and joined the 75th Ranger Regiment. From there, he served over a decade with the Rangers while completing multiple tours of duty all over the Middle East. It wan’t until an injury eventually forced him out that he found his way to Colorado.
Through all this, Brad and Mike stayed close. A few years later, they were fly fishing together in Colorado when the idea of starting their own line of fly rods came up. It started as a passing comment over a bottle of bourbon, but quickly gained steam as they shared their idea’s for an original rod with others who fly fish. Through a lot of hard work, research, development, faith, and luck, a fledgling fly fishing company was born.
In 2015, prototype fly rods were finally ready to fish. Mike, now being a full time fly fish trout guide in Colorado, put every one of them through a battery of tests. Eventually, one design stood out and it was decided upon to bring that fly rod to market. That’s when things started to ramp up. However, they still didn’t have a name for their company.
The name Walton actually comes from Brad’s son. Back when all this was just getting started, Walton was born a little early, just at 30 weeks to be exact. The entire time he was in the NICU, Brad and Mike were brainstorming names to call their company. It was suggested to name it all after Walt and it just stuck. Walton is now five years old and growing like a weed every day and couldn’t be better. Its obvious God has a plan for this kid. Hopefully he will like to fish.
From humble beginnings to a true budding fly rod business showcasing the American Dream, one thing has remained the same; we will always put our ethics and integrity above all else. This is an honor and privilege and we do not take lightly.